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Bake Out

Scope and Description

This topic page covers bake out of space flight hardware. Bake out is intentional acceleration of the outgassing process and typically involves heating the flight hardware under vacuum pressures. This reduces outgassing rates on orbit to ensure proper operation of contamination sensitive systems. Bake out is typically required by smallsat rideshare providers to prevent contamination of other spacecraft on the launch vehicle. Bake out tests are often required to be performed by the launch service provider, with specific conditions such as confirmation your satellite will not transmit during the test. This contamination control process can be particularly important for smallsats due to reduced process and material selection controls and the use of plastic-packaged electronic components that more readily absorb volatile compounds.

Resources under this topic area are primarily case studies of spacecraft contamination control procedures that include bake out and documents that describe or evaluate bake out procedures.

Best Practices and Lessons Learned

Last Updated:

Nov. 1, 2021

Ensure that all of your spacecraft components and subsystems are rated to survive the prescribed bake out temperatures. If a particular temperature and duration of bake out are required by your launch provider, document this information early in the project and make sure that all components (e.g., batteries) and materials can survive the bake out environment.

Last Updated:

Nov. 1, 2021

If possible, avoid bake out requirements by exclusively using low-outgassing materials.


Last Updated: Nov. 10, 2021

This database provided by Goddard Space Flight Center's Materials Engineering Branch is an excellent ... reference for outgassing data. Use the search feature to determine whether your candidate materials meet your outgassing requirements. Make sure to consider any preparation, bake-out, curing, or other conditions noted in the test data.

Last Updated: Oct. 16, 2021

This NASA standard details the test requirements and procedures for proper thermal vacuum bakeout of ... "contamination sensitive hardware". These procedures apply to all spacecraft components, subsystems, and fully assembled systems and can be followed for space transportation missions, Space Station missions, or any other space flight missions.

Last Updated: Aug. 23, 2021

This article on contamination control of the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) details the early design ... stage and test procedures that were considered. The section on cleaning and inspection techniques provides useful information on the importance of proper processes and handling during and after vacuum bakeout.

Last Updated: Aug. 23, 2021

This article details a real-world example of the effects of the degradation of materials and the contamination ... layer growth on the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Through a detailed study, it was found that performing a bakeout on the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) instrument would reduce the contamination layer.

Last Updated: Oct. 17, 2021

This resource provides a detailed review of spacecraft outgassing and the benefits that bake-out testing ... offers in minimizing the potential for contaminates on critical instrument surfaces. It also discusses optimal bake-out durations and temperatures for proper outgassing while preventing unnecessary stress on hardware components.

This paper compares two bake out processes for space instruments, the first being the "purged bakeout ... process" using nitrogen gas at ambient pressure, and the second being the traditional bake-out process with high-vacuum. It concludes that "bakeout in a vacuum oven with clean gas purging is equally efficient as the high-vacuum bakeout with TQCM monitor for those samples with simple geometry of the material". This demonstrates the viability of non-vacuum bake out for simpler assemblies, which can considerably reduce cost and complexity.

This introductory document outlines the basic concepts and processes involved in developing CubeSats. ... This section, titled "Thermal Vacuum Bakeout Testing", specifically discusses bake out and thermal cycling of CubeSats. The motivation for bake out is described and minimum bake out report contents are listed.

Last Updated: Nov. 11, 2021

This online tool developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) is a database of materials and their outgassing ... properties. Use the search feature to determine whether your candidate materials meet your outgassing requirements.